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September 16, 2021

Fewer Canadians living from paycheque to paycheque: report

Despite nagging concerns, Canadians' finances have actually improved in the past year, with fewer people living paycheque to paycheque and more even managing to put some money aside, according to a recent poll by the Canadian Payroll Association.

The survey suggests that 42% of Canadians would be in financial difficulty if their pay was delayed by even a week. And, while that's a grim statistic, it's actually the goods news. Last year, 47% said they were just making ends meet

Either way thiough, that's an alarming number of people who could be one car repair or dental bill away from financial disaster. The survey says 40% of employed Canadians are spending all of – or, in many cases, more than – their net pay.

But while all other households may feel slightly better about their finances, boomers are becoming a bit  more pessimistic. Outliving their money is the biggest fear of mature Canadians, according to CARP, the national organization dedicated to the needs of this group.

This is particularly true for those who, thanks to the recent economic downturn, were never really afforded the chance to "retire."

The CPA numbers suggest that people are still not setting aside nearly enough money, with some pushing back retirement by five years. But at least those who can still do something about it recognize the challenge.

30% of Canadians feel that savings of $500,000 to $1 million will be sufficient to live comfortably in retirement, down from 34% last year. A larger proportion, 35%, believe a nest-egg of between $1 million and $3 million will be needed, up from 28% last year. 

Yet the vast majority of working Canadians are nowhere near reaching such mammoth retirement savings goals - 73% say they have put aside less than a quarter of what they'll need in retirement.

Of those with a specific target retirement date, 35% say they expect to have to work longer - 5 more years on average - than they planned five years ago (in 2008).

On track for retirement? Living paycheque to paycheque? Have things improved or deteriorated over the past year? What's different?



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...